Stonehill Campaign Attains the Summit
August 12, 2010
"Academic chairs help to attract and to retain the most talented faculty members," Lawlor says, pointing to the arrival of Professor of History John Rodrigue [pictured left], who came to Stonehill in 2007 as the first holder of the Salameno chair. "His coming here has attracted very prominent speakers to the Salameno Lecture Series. These are experts in the field - people he knows professionally," says Lawlor, who anticipates similar impact from the Fr. Hurley Chair and the yet to be announced one, both created in the final months of the campaign.
Overall, alumni, parents and friends contributed a total of $10.2 million to academic initiatives, exceeding the original $8 million goal. Along with the academic chairs, sizeable grants from several foundations pushed the goal over the top. Notable awards include two grants totaling $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation.
The first grant is helping Stonehill attract more diverse science majors, as well as increasing enrollment, and subsequently graduation rates, in the science program, by creating a closer link with Massasoit Community College (MCC); the second grant increases scholarships for science majors, both for incoming first-year students as well as MCC transfer students.
The Davis Educational Foundation granted $413,959 to Stonehill to launch the Center for Teaching and Learning as well as the Office of Community-Based Learning, both of which are significant resources for faculty to enrich their teaching. Smaller grants from the NSTAR and Pohlad foundations created two named SURE (Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience) scholarships; another from Wolf & Company established an annual accounting and auditing competition.
"All of these grants are very much in line with the College's new strategic plan to strengthen teaching and learning at Stonehill," says Marie Kelly '00, director of corporate and foundation relations, "and to advance the integration of experiential learning opportunities through the curriculum."
Stonehill athletes and fans are enjoying one of the campaign's most tangible centerpieces: the new W.B. Mason Stadium, built thanks to the generosity of the office supply company's CEO, Trustee Leo Meehan '75, as well as alumni employees and friends.
"The stadium creates a nice collegiate atmosphere on campus. It's welcoming and fits right in to the College landscape," says Dillon. "And there's no question that it's given us one of the premier Division II athletic facilities in the Northeast."
The football, lacrosse and field hockey teams now play on Coughlin Memorial Field, named for Timothy Coughlin '80 who lost his life in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, and donated by family and friends through funds raised from the annual Cogs Classic golf tournament. And the track & field teams, for the first time in the College's history, have a fitting on-campus home for both foot races and field events.
One of the stadium's greatest advantages has been the addition of lights, allowing teams to play evening games. "Now, night games are a real social event on campus," Dillon observes. "They've also become a centerpiece for larger events like Alumni Weekend and parents weekend." The stadium also had a domino effect on the athletics program: the opening of W.B. Mason Stadium cleared the way for the former Skyhawk Stadium to be converted to a full-time soccer venue for both the men's and women's teams.
The annual fund, the Stonehill College Fund, was the campaign's first priority to exceed its goal. By Attaining the Summit's conclusion, the fund brought in more than $9 million, soundly trumping its $7 million goal. "That's 141 percent of the original goal," Dillon notes.
The story of the annual fund is its grassroots nature, "many smaller gifts coming together to create the largest gift to the campaign," says Director of Development Doug Smith. "Over the campaign's five years, alumni, parents and friends made 14,585 gifts. And 7,500 alumni - or 40 percent of all graduates - made at least one gift." Faculty and staff also made a significant contribution, with gifts from employees totaling $450,000.
"That's astounding, a real vote of confidence when employees display that kind of support," says Dillon.
"We want alumni, friends and staff to know that no matter how small their gift, when it's added to others and added up over time, it makes a tremendous difference to students," Smith explains. "The annual fund is the here and now - it impacts every part of the student experience. It helps fund undergraduate student research, athletic teams, and new and innovative programs."